Organizers of the annual libertarian-oriented FreedomFest conference sent an email to potential attendees Tuesday declaring that “FreedomFest is still on for July 13-16” in Las Vegas.
The conference theme, “Catch the Vision,” seems an unfortunate choice for a time when states and cities and the travel industry are at the earliest stages of opening up from COVID-19 restrictions on public gatherings. But don’t worry about catching something else:
The entire staff at FreedomFest is working closely with our vendors and the team at the Paris hotel to make sure we can create the safest environment at FreedomFest for our attendees, exhibitors and speakers. We will follow the most current guidelines that are relevant at the time for social distancing, sanitizing, and encouraging good hygiene for everyone who attends FreedomFest. Paris will also be instituting more stringent cleaning and social distancing practices throughout the hotel.
The email promoting FreedomFest seeks to foster a sense of urgency, saying the first day will begin with an “emergency meeting” to address the threat posed by the response of governments and individuals to the pandemic.
Here’s how conference organizers describe the emergency:
The entire world has now had a taste of global statism – and it seems to have appealed to a huge portion of the population. New calls to implement socialist agendas – even in the United States! – include universal healthcare and universal basic income, mandatory vaccinations, health certificates for travel, and growing burdens on small business owners that will include paid sick leave, remote workspaces, and higher unemployment insurance as well as new regulations that will likely be expensive and confining.
Globally, people seem almost thrilled to give up their freedoms and let government take over EVERYTHING. We have become almost childlike in our reliance on authority.
One of the greatest casualties of the global shutdown has been the shutting down of our usually robust campaign process—and this is the most important election cycle in our lifetime. Freedom itself is hooked to a ventilator, and we must be the ones to bring it back to life.
The email promoting the conference mocks Americans’ compliance with social distancing restrictions and other public health requirements imposed by governments. “We are living in the land of the sheep,” the email reads:
It’s downright scary how billions of people, including many liberty-loving Americans, willingly sequestered themselves in their homes, donned masks, social-distanced, shuttered their businesses, and believed the hype. We’re experiencing what Ben Franklin famously observed: we’re giving up essential liberty for temporary security.
Was it really necessary?
And even more importantly, was it morally right?
What do we now face in the future? How much easier will it be for governments to shutter our businesses under any pretext described as “for the common good”? They told us to shut down our businesses, and we did. They told us to stay home, and we did. They told our neighbors to report on us, and they did. They told us not to buy masks, so we didn’t. And then they told us we had to wear masks, and we did. We are living in the land of the sheep.
How many of our “unalienable” rights were violated and what does that mean for our future freedoms?
Going forward, it is absolutely essential that these draconian measures be challenged in the courts.
But, the email declares assuringly, “As free marketers and freedom-lovers, we are up for the challenge!”
The speaker lineup is heavy on investors, libertarian and right-wing media figures and advocates, and, despite the libertarian tilt of the conference, some conservative culture warriors like movie critic Michael Medved and public philosopher Jordan Peterson.
Among the many speakers scheduled to appear:
- Atlas Society CEO Jennifer Grossman, whose speaker profile on the FreedomFest website quotes her saying, “This is the perfect moment to help the public rediscover the moral vision of Ayn Rand.”
- Anti-tax crusader Grover Norquist, infamous for his stated goal of shrinking the federal government to the size that it could be drowned in the bathtub.
- Right-wing “media personality” and conspiracy theory promoter Wayne Allyn Root, who has called the coronavirus the devil’s “greatest creation yet.”
- David McIntosh, president of the anti-tax, anti-government Club for Growth.
- Stephen Moore, Trump campaign economic adviser and Heritage Foundation fellow.
- Li Schoolland of the Acton Institute, which promotes a theological underpinning for right-wing economics.
Among the organizations scheduled to lead sessions are the Pacific Legal Foundation, National Review and the National Review Institute, and the Independent Institute.